What Aspects must be looked into?
Every year the most stressful time for parent community is when the new school sessions are about to start and you struggle to find the right schools for your Pre-schoolers.
Or maybe you have relocated and are trying to select a good school at the new place.
Or maybe you are not happy with the current school of your child and trying to look for some other school at the same place.
Most of you young parents are confused as to how must you select the school? Should you go for a big established school or an upcoming one? What all must you look for in a school? Do the results define a school? Should you go for State Boards, CBSE or ICSE Schools?
Selecting a school implies that you are putting your child on a learning trajectory. Through this article, I am sharing the insights based on observations and experience which will help you to make right choice.
In order to make the right choice, you must make your observations on the following parameters and look deeper in to these aspects.
Competence of the Faculty
Are they well qualified and trained?
What methodology do they follow?
How to check that?
In case you are physically verifying, visiting the school, it is obvious when you talk to them. You can see, feel and get vibes of the same. Experience & expertise speaks for itself.
In case you are looking into the schools through websites, try to find more about them by asking the parents of the children who study there.
You must ensure that the school meets the highest standards of excellence in terms of its teachers, their methodology of teaching learning, academic curriculum and moral standards.
Ethos of the School
Is it loving & caring?
Does it radiate concern for children?
How to check that?
Choose to visit the school if possible. You can feel positive energy and vibes.
Also take notice as to how are people in general talking to each other, do they talk politely and with courtesy to each other? Are they comfortable with each other?
Most importantly, how do the seniors relate with their subordinates? Is there a feel of fear? There may be a feel of authority but if it is wrapped in love and concern, it is okay. But if it is only authority without humanity, you may have to reconsider.
Class Strength and Teacher Student Ratio
Big Class Strength, Multi-sectional School with Super facilities
Average Class Strength, 2/3 section school with basic facilities in place
How to decide?
In a class with 30-32 students, the teachers will be personally able to attend to every student’s individual learning needs.
In big class sizes and in very big schools, individual attention starts fading out which is so crucial at least up to class 8th.
So, consider this factor based on the need, age and class of your child. How does your child learn; in group settings or individually? How much attention does she need to understand and master any concept?
Usually, in junior classes, the children need more of individual attention and ample practice to master the skills of reading writing and arithmetic. By secondary classes, children are grown up enough and have already mastered the basic skills so class size does not really make up much difference to the learning curve of children until there are real discipline issues at class level.
Teaching – Learning Experience and Overall Focus
Traditional old-fashioned teaching & focus on rote learning (memorization). Only academics are focused on.
Innovative, experiential learning with focus on learning by doing along with promoting multi-dimensional growth of children. Extracurricular activities like sports, music, arts & craft, dance &drama etc. are equally focused on.
How to find out?
Try to talk to the parents of the children or the senior students of the school. Look out for real evidences in and around.
For beginners and students up to class 8th at least, evidences of learning by doing must be a very important factor to make the choice of the school.
You can ask to see the school on some random working day and see it for yourself. Innovative, ever growing organizations have a vibrancy about themselves and opportunities of learning by doing are provided to children to help them explore their talent and skills.
What are the Motives of School?
Pure Education/ Pure Business
Education with understanding of business/ Business with an understanding of real education
Pure education means the schools totally committed to the cause of education and are actively engaged in the growth and development of children.
Pure business means the schools are concerned more with the business aspects of running a school than the quality of teaching learning and growth & development of children.
But the point is pure educationists won’t ever have so much resources to run the school. So, there is least probability of coming across a school run for pure education. The school committed to the cause of education with understanding of business is the ideal choice. See, in real world any organization has to be economically self-sustaining. Such schools engage in real education with good quality faculty and nurturing ethos. In other words, the real value for the cost offered is delivered honestly.
How to check?
Try to find facts who are the people at the helm of affairs? Are they committed to the cause of education? Ask to see the people at key positions in the school. Talking to them and sharing your aspirations would give you a feel of what do they stand for, what philosophy do they follow. Appearances may be deceptive so talking to the parents of students already studying in the school will give you a fair picture.
Infrastructure & Facilities in the School
Five Star Facilities
How to decide?
The schools with basic infrastructure and good standard of cleanliness and greenery around serve the purpose. Neat and clean toilet facility, safe drinking water, a playground, laboratory and library also come under the basic facilities.
Some schools provide awe creating facilities which most of the times become the basis of your choice. You have to think critically as to how do such facilities add to the growth and development of your child. A.C classrooms, Buses, canteen etc. do not engage in real education so their availability and non-availability must not be a factor to select a school. In case you are considering the availability of such facilites as a factor to choose school, try to find out whether these facilities are for showcase or children are actually allowed to use them and develop. Find out whether labs are used or just stacked? A normal lab with ample uses is better than a well stacked big lab but minimal uses.
See during pandemic, we all have witnessed that buildings were at their own places yet the schools with focus on education have been able to provide an admirable teaching learning experience. So rationally you must select a school with all basic facilities in place, properly functional and utilized to the maximum.
Which Board the School is Affiliated to?
State Board/ CBSE/ ICSE
How to decide?
The choice of board will depend on the age & class of your child along with how often do you relocate. As a matter of fact, all schools up-to class 8thare recognized by the State Boards. For the board classes the schools are further affiliated to either the State Boards or CBSE or ICSE.
Usually, the concepts taught in all schools are same as they are based on NCF (national Curriculum Framework) but pattern of asking questions in Board Classes is different.
So up-to class 8th, your choice must be governed by the other factors discussed (quality faculty, teacher-student ratio, education or business, and nurturing ethos.) and not by the Board.
But in case if you relocate (change place due to any reason) every two years, you may prefer a CBSE school as almost all of them follow the same pattern so your changing school will not impact your child’s studies although other factors would still make a difference.
Also, if you stay permanently at one place and aspire your child to go for state govt. jobs or seek admission into state colleges of higher studies in future, a State Board School with keeping other factors in mind can be a good choice.
Distance of the School from Home
A Big School with all facilities
A small school with normal facilities
How to decide?
Your selection of school in terms of distance from your home must depend on the age of your child. For preschoolers and primary classes, a school near to your home provided it has a caring ethos and focusses on learning by doing can be a good choice as it saves the child from tiring commuting schedule.
For beginners, the aim of starting school is to be able to develop a routine and spend some time away from home independently in the care of school and engage in creative activities.
For middle and Senior classes, you sure must look for lab, library and advance sports facilities. By that time, your child might have grown physical strength to bear the long travel and average time management skills to cope up with the time spent in daily commuting.
So, considering all these factors and mapping them to the age, need and class of your children will help you make a practical selection. Other factors, what do you base your decisions on, hearsay or your own needs and critical thinking, what values to you the most, what kind of environment do you look up for your child also will definitely impact selection of a school for your child. Whatever factors govern your choice, the minimum you must ensure is the real healthy growth and development of your child.
Making an Intelligent Choice is Imperative to Your Child’s Future!
Enjoy Happy Parenting!